Sunflowers in Kansas in August – full and infused with sunlight and beloved of bees – always brighten my day and bring a smile to my face.
May first is our wedding anniversary. This past Friday was our thirty-fourth. I took a day off from working at home and turned it into a three day weekend.
Before Terry went upstairs for a nap shortly after noon, he warned me to answer the door if the door bell rang. Since I had no where else to be, I stayed in the living room, watching obscure dramas I stumbled across via the Tubi channel on our Roku. As foretold by Terry, sometime around two or three o’clock the doorbell rang and I receive a beautiful bouquet from a local flower shop with a note that brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart.
Next year, our thirty-fifth, we hope to spend a weekend in a remote location, preferably a dark sky site, so we can enjoy some star gazing and some peace and quiet. I’m hoping for a Flint Hills cabin or camping site myself. But we’ll see. We have a year to plan.
Last fall, we had some landscaping done on the east and north sides of the house. The south side just had some fill dirt graded against the foundation and a cherry try planted between the apple tree and the fence. We also removed the bothersome mulberry terry from the corner of the fenced backyard.
I attempted to grow sunflowers last summer with limited success. This year, I decided I wanted a wildflower garden to give bees and hopefully hummingbirds something to enjoy. I bought a bag of wildflower seed, raked the fill dirt to loosen it and even it out and liberally sprinkled the seed along the entire south wall of the house. A few weeks later, I’m starting to see blooms, thanks in no small part to nearly ten inches of rain we received in May.
Summer officially arrived yesterday, but today it dawned for the first time. I woke up way way early for a Sunday (sometime during the four o’clock hour) and spied a hazy crescent moon from my bedroom window, but no bright shining Venus.
Late in the five o’clock hour, I went outside, taking Apollo with me, to see if Venus peaked through the clouds. No, nothing but the moon.
Some of my flowers are doing well, like my day lilies and the moss roses, potted or in flower beds:
The cone flowers I planted last year and not doing very well. The one I planted at the north end of this flower bed only produced three or four leaves. The other one (shown above) is flowering, but also looks pekid. I’m just not much of a gardener. My one true success is the day lilies, which I planted six years ago on Memorial Day.
I am the first to admit that I do not have a green thumb. Nearly every plant I’ve ever been given as a gift, unless it’s a cactus, has died. This makes no sense, since I grew up in a farming community and helped my parents maintain a vegetable garden as a child. Plants and I just don’t get along.
Four years ago, I decided ten years of neglect to the flowerbed hiding under our mailbox was enough.
I enlisted Rachelle’s assistance (she’ll tell you I drafted her) in removing the weeds and ground covering shrubs.
Eventually, we got down to dirt. We visited a local nursery, where I bought four pots of already blooming day lilies. Rachelle dug the holes and got them transplanted to the flowerbed. We mulched it and I kept my fingers crossed.
Two years later, on Rachelle’s birthday, the day lilies were having a celebration.
Three months later, Terry and I decided to have the driveway torn out and completely replaced. During the winters, it became nearly impossible to shovel it:
During the tear-out, the southern portion of the mailbox flower bed was damaged, hurting one of the day lily bunches.
Last year, thanks to the drought, I didn’t do much of anything with landscaping or with our yard. The grass seed we planted (and which thrived during the Spring of 2012), died and my front yard looked awful. This year, we replanted grass seed again, over a larger portion of the front and side yards and thankfully we’ve gotten plenty of rain.
Terry tore out the remaining landscape timbers a couple of months ago. We hauled that off to the dump during the city’s annual spring cleaning initiative. My dad provided some used landscaping bricks he wanted to remove from his backyard.
Earlier this week, we were at Home Depot and I saw an orange lily I thought would look great with the almost-ready-to-bloom day lilies. We bought two of them and planted them Wednesday evening:
Yesterday, Terry and I visited a local nursery and picked up two large pots of cone flowers and three flats of moss roses to add to the flowerbed. I spent an hour or two digging a shallow trench for the landscaping bricks and got them installed before the sun set.
Now, all I can do is pray that they’ll continue to thrive, despite my history with plants.